• on March 9, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Traditionally called Laetare (Latin for ‘Rejoice’). The long Gospel Reading for this weekend is the man born blind, from the Gospel of John (Jn.9:1-41). It is also the weekend we celebrate the Second Scrutiny for those preparing for Baptism and the Easter Vigil. The Scrutinies this weekend will be celebrated at the 4:00 pm Mass. The Gospel begins with Jesus seeing a man blind from birth – seems pretty straightforward. For us, it’s ‘one man’. The Gospel of John was originally written in Greek; the work used for ‘man’ is ‘anthropos’ (a human person). According to Saint Augustine (354-430), the blind ‘man’ stands for the human race, blind from birth. In Our Lord’s time, blindness, or any other affliction, was understood to be a punishment for the sins committed. As is common in the Gospel of John, the misunderstanding of the disciples give Jesus the opportunity to teach them a deeper truth. For St. Irenaeus (130-202) this miracle is understood as a new act of creation. It was the same hand of God in Jesus’ actions that had formed humanity in the beginning. In John’s Gospel there are many veiled references to the ‘new beginning’ harping back to the story of creation in the Book of Genesis. What is there, or who is there, that you and I need to see aright? I often tell the kids in school and Religious Ed that the work ‘respect’ comes from two Latin words which mean ‘to take a second look’. I know that in my own life I seldom give people a ‘second look’. I treat them unfairly because I just go on first impressions. I realize that part of my Lenten penance needs to involve putting that part of my judgmental attitude aright. Most of us are ‘blind’ when i comes to certain people or situations. Maybe both of us (you and I) would choose someone we don’t like or have no respect for, and try to take a ‘second look’ before we sit down for the Easter celebration.

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